Women’s History Month

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Jes Baker, a body-love advocate capped off a month-long series of events for Women’s History Month at Missouri Western.

Other events for the month celebrating women and their accomplishments including other prominent speakers, a wage-equality bake sale and a film screening.

Melinda Kovács, assistant professor of political science and a key organizer for Women History Month events at MWSU, said that Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to explore different viewpoints than what do not often get shared.

“It’s a recognition of the fact that not only history, but any kind of social science or story of humanity is told from the perspective, of the dominant group in society at anytime,” Kovács said. “We can have a lot of arguments by who may be the dominant group in contemporary American society, but women are not it.”

She adds, “It’s an attempt to underline the fact that that dominant group does not include women and to also to highlight the experiences that women have had, to highlight the struggles and successes that women have had, and it’s a celebration of the fact that women can and are making contributions.”

While women achieve, there are still inequalities between men and women. For instance, in the United States, women tend to make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes while working the same job. A discussion on this inequality became part of this year’s WHM programming.

“To highlight this, there was a workshop on Monday evening about the wage gap,” Kovács said. “There was a wage gap bake sale. The idea was if you were a woman, you could buy the baked goods for 75 cents, but if you were a man, they are going to charge you an entire dollar. This is one subversive way of calling attention to the fact that if you have two individuals with the same background, same degrees, and work in similar jobs, but one is a man, and one is a woman, the man is probably making more money.”

Madeline Marx, president and founder of the student group Women of the Future, sees Women’s History Month as a positive time.

“It’s a celebratory month… There’s different definitions. It has to do with equality; it doesn’t just have to do with famous women; we’re not just sitting around talking about Nancy Reagan for hours; we look at the progress throughout time and history…how far women have come as far as equal rights go. It’s a way to raise awareness,” Marx said. “History is his story. This is her story. We are saying that women have been anonymous. When you have quotes by anonymous, chances are it was by a woman. It’s our opportunity, throughout time we have textbooks written and movies made…primarily have had to do with men; this our chance to have a whole month devoted to just women. Events are NOT just for women. With Women of the Future, we strive to promote equality among all genders; we are not excluding genders. We are not saying there is no men allowed here.”

Marx continues, “I think it is important that millennials especially understand the struggle, process, and progress, that women have had to endure. We just got the right to vote in the last century. We still don’t have equal pay. We haven’t made it far enough. There is statistic that by the year 2020, there will be five women in college for every two men. Lots of women are coming into leadership roles. It’s important that we understand the progress and what people went through to get us to this point.”

The first Women’s History Month on this campus was organized in 2013, according to Kovacs.

“Part of the effort to raise awareness starts with getting involved in attending, in being part of the conversations,” Kovacs said.

One event in particular stood out to many students and appeared to grab the attention of everyone in the room. Patience Jones, a rape, abuse and incest survivor stood up in front of an audience and shared her painful memories of her parents’ physical and mental abuse, which started at age 2. The abuse continued all throughout her childhood and teen years. She clung to education as a way to escape her family and finally be safe. In certain cases, her father even threatened to take her out of school. Fortunately, her determination and education took her far in life and far away from her family. After many difficult years of therapy, Jones was finally starting to begin a normal life. She found a man that who she claims is “superman” and is the perfect fit for her and her situation. She has become very successful in life. She hasn’t spoken to her parents in six years and doesn’t plan to do so anytime soon.

Women’s History Month may have come to end, but it’s awesome.